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Language Smarts D ( A Critical Thinking Co. Review)

It's no secret that I'm a Critical Thinking Co, fan. I have used some their stuff in the past. This year my family was allowed to review Language Smarts D and E (E review coming soon). I am having Lance work through Level D.
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co Review
Language Smarts Level D recommended grade is 3rd. It can be as a stand alone Language Arts curriculum or if you prefer to supplement what you are currently using. Right now with Lance I am using it as his main Language Arts program.

Language Smarts D covers reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and thinking skills. I love that this program weaves critical thinking skills throughout. The child will extract information from various graphic formats like diagrams and graphic organizers.

The book is colorful and fun but challenges the students. 
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
 The 344 page softcover book is divided by colors. The yellow section covers Word Elements:
  • Syllables
  • Consonant Blends and Digraphs
  • Long and Short Vowels including Silent E
  • R-Controlled Vowels, Vowel Digraphs, and Vowel Diphthongs
  • Y as a Vowel and Consonant
  • Word Families, High Frequency Words, Compound Words, and Contractions
  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Word Parts, Capitalize, and Alphabetizing
And sprinkled throughout this section of the book your child will encounter some Editor in Chief and Writing Detective pages!
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co

The "green" which covers Sentence Elements include:
  • Sentences: simple sentence, fragments, run-on, and subject/predicate, declarative/interrogative/exclamatory/imperative
  • Conjunctions
  • Simple & Compound Sentences
  • Paragraphs
  • Common Nouns, Proper Nouns, Possessive Nouns, and Pronouns
  • Adjectives, Verbs, Verb Tenses, and Irregular Verbs
  • Subject Verb Agreement, Compound Subjects/Predicates, Adverbs
  • Prepositions & Singular and Plural
And again, Editor & Chief and Writing Detectives are included.Each new concept that is introduced is given between 2-6. For example when learning about verbs there's 6 pages. Verb Tenses has two pages to complete.

Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
The "peach" or Punctuation chapter is under 30 pages and covers:
  • Commas, Periods, Exclamation Marks, Question Marks, Colons and Semi Colons, and Question Marks
The Editor and Chief pages build on each other and will now include concepts that have been covered from the "yellow" to current sections.Like the other sections in the book there are Writing Detective assignments where the child reads the passage and answers the reading questions.
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
Moving onto Using Words Properly, the "purple" chapter your children will learn about:
  • Alliteration (none of my kids have come across this yet, ack, so thankful for The Critical Thinking Co.)
  • Articles
  • Less & Fewer, Farther & Further, Good and Well
  • Then & Than, To, Too, and Two, Your and You're
  • Hear & Here, There, Their, and They're, I & Me, Myself
  •  Me, Myself, & I, Imply or Infer, Can & May, Lie & Lay
  • Sit & Set, Homophones, Homographs, Similes, Metaphors, 
With Editor & Chief and Writing Detective pages included. I like that each chapter includes these types of page for the child to practice the skills they are learning.
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
Now that your child has learned punctuation, sentence elements, and using words properly, your child will work through the Writing Elements section (can't wait for Lance to get to this part of the book). This section has your child writing a bit more. 
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
Included in this chapter is:
  • Fact or Inference, Fact or Opinion, Real or Make Believe
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Writing Detective 
The Writing Detective pages not only have the child read the story and answer questions, your student will also write a paragraph about the story. The student will answer the 5 W's and the H questions before writing the paragraph.
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
Story Components will cover:
  • Titles, Subtitles, Table of Contents
  • Setting, Plot, Characters, 
  • Supporting Details - the children will read the passage, find the main idea, and write supporting details.
  • Ordering, Sequence, Categorizing, Cause & Effect
  • Story Maps- the child is to read the story, then identify the elements of the story like: characters, setting, conflict, topic and main idea. Eventually your child will use a Story Map to write he own story.
  • Writing Numbers with Words, Prediction, Context Clues, 
  • Reference Materials, Using the Library, Writing (teaching the four steps of writing)
  • Write a Research Paper - your child will list resources and create a written draft before writing his paper.
The last section of this book is the answer keys.

As you can see Language Smarts covers a lot. Right now Lance is completing two pages a day and is working his way through Word Elements the yellow section. I think this will give him a good handle on grammar and go over many of the top grammar mistakes like when to use "there, their, and they're" and "I and Me", 

Note: Language Smarts does not teach diagramming.

Because Lance has struggled with reading in the past I haven't introduced him to things like similes, metaphors, and fact or inference. We just haven't studied that and I'm so thankful to The Critical Thinking Co. for a book like Language Smarts that covers so much! This I believe will get him up to speed in certain areas of Language Arts that he is "behind" in.
Language Smarts by The Critical Thinking Co
Final Thoughts: Although right now we are using Language Smarts as our only Language Arts program, I will eventually add a writing program but only after he's completed part of Language Smarts. I don't want to overwhelm him right now.

I think the writing elements is a great introduction to writing for Lance. Most kids using this will probably be in the target grade range for this level which is 3rd grade. In my opinion for a 3rd grade child I'd probably only use this for Language Arts and add copywork. I think there is enough to use this as a stand alone program.

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